October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, recognized across the United States as a time to stand united in promoting efforts to end domestic violence.
In conjunction with this nationwide initiative, the Altmar-Parish-Williamstown Junior/Senior High School coordinated an educational domestic violence program for seventh grade students in the school’s Family and Consumer Science class.
Sybil Ruffels, APW Family and Consumer Science Teacher, invited Sara Carmichael, Oswego County Opportunities SAF (Services to Aid Families) Educator, to her class to speak to students about many of the different aspects of abusive relationships.
The five part program covered everything from the red flags and warning signs of abusive relationships to the balance of power and control, and communication as well as problem solving skills.
Differences between normal relationships with everyday ups and downs and unhealthy abusive relationships were also pointed out and discussed.
Because of the popularity of social networking sites like FaceBook and MySpace and the increasing use of text and instant messaging, there was time allotted during the program to cover how these newer forms of communication can lead to problems and maybe even contribute to bullying and/or abuse.
The program also included discussions about how to establish a healthy relationship and students were provided with information about the community resources available should they ever need help or support in dealing with an abusive relationship.